A crypto exchange guide must provide reviews of all of the exchanges out there, so that you can find the right one for you. This review of Kraken consists of four parts: general info, fees, deposit methods and security.
Kraken is an American crypto exchange, based in San Francisco. It has been around for like forever (which in cryptocurrency means since 2011).
America is in many ways the ruler of crypto right now. It has a very impressive number of exchanges and a large part of the everyday crypto trading occurs on American exchanges or on other exchanges but involving traders from the US. A few of the exchanges coming from the land of the brave and home of the free are Coinbase, Gate.io, Paxful and Bitquick.
The crypto market generally refers to Kraken as a very reliable exchange. The exchange itself states that it exists for “those who demand fast execution, innovative features, exceptional support, and high security” and that it “always put the client first”. Kraken also promotes itself as the most trusted crypto exchange in the world.
An example of how the exchange’s reliability is that the bankruptcy trustee of Mt. Gox appointed Kraken to assist in processing the claims of the 127,000 creditors of Mt. Gox. Its duties in that process were the following:
- Aid in the investigation of possible lost or stolen Bitcoin
- Aid in the creation of a system to file and investigate claims
- Help to distribute Bitcoin and/or fiat assets to creditors
- Exchange Bitcoin to fiat currency when needed.”
Like most other exchanges out there today, Kraken is also available as a mobile app. This means that you no longer need a desktop to access the crypto trading world. As long as you can download apps from App Store or Google Play, you’re good to go.
As the exchange is American, you can naturally trade here if you are a US-investor.
Some Interesting Statistics
The exchange was founded on 28 July 2011 and today offers trading in 17 cryptocurrencies. All of these 17 cryptocurrencies should be considered as fairly big ones, so if you’re looking for a smaller/newer altcoin, Kraken is not for you.
Since its inception, Kraken has handled transactions in aggregate worth more than USD 140 billion. On the date of first adding these statistics to the review (30 January 2019), its 24 hour trading volume was approx. USD 87 million. This placed Kraken on place 43 on the list of the cryptocurrency exchanges in the world with the highest 24 hour trading volume. So good, but not great (on the same day, Bithumb had a 24 hour trading volume of USD 1.4 billion). On the date of last updating this review (12 November 2019), Kraken had a 24 hour trading volume of USD 92.8 million, then reaching place no. 56 on the same list (on this day, CoinBene took the gold medal with a 24 hour trading volume of USD 1.19 billion).
Kraken announced in an email to customers on 29 January that it had 4 million clients across almost 200 countries. This is very impressive market penetration indeed. In the same email, they announced a “new look”.
On 4 February 2019, Kraken also announced that it will now be possible to trade cryptocurrency futures at their platform. However, US-investors may not trade futures at Kraken just yet. They will have to resort to any of the other cryptocurrency exchanges offering leveraged trading, such as PrimeXBT or Coinbase Pro.
Kraken’s futures-offering was introduced after the company’s acquisition of Crypto Facilities, a trading platform that they themselves describe as a “world-leading, FCA-regulated” cryptocurrency trading platform. The purchase price has not been disclosed but is allegedly above USD 100,000,000 – constituting one of the biggest acquisitions in the history of crypto. After the acquisition, you can now seamlessly move funds between Kraken Exchange and Kraken futures.
At Kraken, you can trade with leverage up to 50x on the top five cryptocurrencies. There are other exchanges offering up to 100x and Coinbase Pro even offers up to 500x. At Kraken, there are no capacity restrictions and no ongoing interest charges. As other advantages with their futures trading, Kraken highlights that there are “seamless transfers between spot and futures markets” and that they have a 30% revenue share. The latter meaning that the exchange pays out 30% of all the net fees that they have collected from their active traders, back to the traders.
This picture shows how popular the leveraged trading at Kraken has become lately:
Kraken Trading View
Different exchanges have different trading views. And there is no “this overview is the best”-view. You should yourself determine which trading view that suits you the best. What the views normally have in common is that they all show the order book or at least part of the order book, a price chart of the chosen cryptocurrency and order history. They normally also have buy and sell-boxes. Before you choose an exchange, try to have a look at the trading view so that you can ascertain that it feels right to you. The below is a picture of the trading view at Kraken (before the redesign though):
Kraken Trading fees
Kraken’s trading fees for takers are 0.26%. This fee is ever so slightly above the industry average. The industry average is arguably around 0.25%.
However, the exchange offers a discount to makers, thus promoting the liquidity at the exchange. The maker fee is set at 0.16%. This is a strong competitive edge in the market and is especially beneficial for the investors not interested in picking up existing orders from the order book but rather prefers to “go fishing” with maker-orders.
Kraken Withdrawal fees
Kraken charges a withdrawal fee amounting to 0.0005 when you withdraw BTC. This fee is below the industry average and also constitutes a competitive advantage against the majority of other top crypto exchanges in the market.
Kraken offers wire transfer as a deposit method, but you can’t deposit via credit card. This of course negative news to you if you would prefer to use your credit card for any reason. However, as the exchange accepts deposit of fiat currencies at all, it distinguishes itself from many other exchanges that only allows deposits in cryptocurrencies.
One option you have depositwise is to deposit (and withdraw) USD, EUR, CAD, GBP and JPY through Etana Custody (and CHF through Bank Frick in Liechtenstein). Etana offers currency conversion for a wide range of fiat currencies. Users of the Kraken platform can wire transfer almost any fiat currency to their Etana Custody wallet, and then exchange that into one of the five major fiat currencies that the Kraken platform supports, in order to fund their respective Kraken accounts.
As of 12 November 2019, you can also deposit and withdraw EUR via SEPA-transfers. Kraken’s cooperation with Liechtenstein-based Bank Frick makes this possible. The SEPA-deposit fees are EUR 0.15 and the SEPA-withdrawal fees are EUR 1.00 (so next to nothing, really).
The security score of this exchange is an impressive A-, when performing the test at Observatory by Mozilla (https://observatory.mozilla.org/). This is far above average when it comes to top crypto exchanges and could be a factor making you conclude that Kraken is the best cryptocurrency exchange site for you.
There are only a few exchanges that – like the above exchange – receive Mozilla Observatory-scores of B or higher. The following list includes a few such exchanges with very impressive security scores: